The votes are in for the second installment of American Idol, and American has made its choice. By only 1,350 votes out of over 24 million votes cast, Ruben Studdard, the plus-sized "teddy bear of love," defeated Dixie crooner Clay Aiken to win the second American Idol competition.

The big winner, of course, was FOX, which used American Idol's ratings -- every bit as jumbo as Ruben -- to propel itself to a ratings victory in the last two nights of the May sweeps. As noted by Reuters, Fox finished second in the 18-49 demographic for the 2002-03 season, which ended tonight, and enjoyed a gigantic boost in its profitability thanks to Idol.

We wish Ruben and Clay the best of luck, but we can't shake the feeling that 1,350 votes out of 24 million is a statistical tie that may well be attributable to technical errors. Perhaps Fox should hire Jimmy Carter to observe next year's Idol "elections."

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